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Youth dominate the runway at Fashion Week

A next-gen wave of home-grown designers is set to take over the Fashion Week runway, and it’s all in the name of youth empowerment.

‘Walk The Line’, currently in its 8th year, is the only show on the New Zealand Fashion Week schedule run by youth for youth, and will feature original designs by a line-up of 50 fashion darlings from across the country.

Every garment shown at ‘Walk the Line’ has been designed, sewn and styled by high school students aged between 13 and 18. The show is managed solely by not-for-profit YMCA Auckland’s youth development arm, Raise Up, who facilitate, produce and direct the show.

Raise Up’s youth coordinator, 20-year-old Georgia Brodie, has been leading a crew of 20 teens since February to plan and execute the show. She says it gives youth a decent crack at project management and fresh Kiwi talent a vital leg up in a challenging industry.

“We’ve seen the global success of 11-year-old designer Kheris Rogers and Alexander Wang’s crew of fashion fanatic kids. We can’t wait to showcase our own Kiwi creatives who will ultimately decide what we’re wearing in ten years,” says Georgia.

This year’s show is themed ‘Be who you want to be’, and will feature designs across a range of categories, from sustainability to high fashion, street wear, open design and ‘express yourself’.

Following in the footsteps of global fashion elite, the teens will showcase their fashion skills for a panel of expert judges including Doris de Pont (New Zealand Fashion Museum), Carly Tolley (NZ Fashion Tech) and Simone Anderson (author and social media star) in the hopes of winning a $2,000 NZ Fashion Tech scholarship to kick start their career.

Judge Doris de Pont of NZ Fashion Museum, who has been involved with YMCA’s ‘Walk the Line’ for three years, is equally passionate about both the history of New Zealand fashion and the future.

“`The new' is always interesting – seeing what ideas young people are working with and thinking about. They are where the future of fashion lies,” says Doris.

The event’s not only empowering future designers and models, but opening doors for those who want to work behind the camera. Two teenagers will become photographers, allowing Walk the Line to be showcased through their eyes.

YMCA Auckland founded Raise Up in 2002 as a way to help young people grow, develop and reach their full potential. The not-for-profit has continued to invest more than $350,000 each year to deliver Raise Up in 11 locations across Auckland and Hamilton. It’s encouraging donations from the public to keep its vital programmes running.

“Events like ‘Walk the Line’ give our youth so many valuable opportunities to develop their skills in leadership, event management, promotion and sales – skills that set them up for life,” says Georgia.

What: YMCA Auckland’s Walk the Line Fashion Show Where: NZFW ‘The Runway’ Viaduct Events Centre, 161 Halsey Street Auckland When: Sunday 2nd September, 10.30am Tickets: (premium tickets include a coveted goodie bag)

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